Veteran Saves Dog and Adopts Him


Rachel Jarvis, Contributor

In a remote part of Afrighanistan, Sergeant Craig Grossi was assigned to marine RECON, while on patrol Sergeant Grossi spotted a young puppy. He was not in a pack, like most street dogs were and he did not seem to be vicious or mean in any way. “He was hot, hungry, covered in bugs and had absolutely no reason to show me any kind of trust or love, but he did it right away.”  says Craig when asked about his first interaction with Fred. Against protocol, Sergeant Grossi offered the pup some jerky he had. The dog started to follow him when he got up to leave. His co-workers commented, ” Looks like you have a friend.” Another co-worker added, “Looks like a Fred,” and the name stuck. From then on, it was Craig and Fred.

It was from the moment they first met, they were inseparable. From going on missions to hanging around back at camp, Fred followed Grossi everywhere. For two months they were the best of friends and Grossi fell in love with Fred. Fred followed him even though there were loud sounds that would typically scare a dog, especially as a stray, like helicopters and gunshots. Fred stayed quiet when he needed to like when he went along with alongside the Marines in hostile territory.

Grossi kept Fred even though the marines have a strict no stray dogs rule, if he were to be caught with his new friend, Fred would immediately be euthanized with no questions asked, and yet Fred won Craig’s heart, Craig kept him and would not give him up. The Afghan commandos that Grossi was placed with did not like Fred, a gun battle almost broke out due to the dogs presence, and yet the love between the man and the dog was to great for them to be seperated. Grossi said, “And we knew that there are some rules that were meant to be broken.”

Grossi smuggled him into the heavily-fortified Camp Leatherneck in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in order to get him back to the United States with him, He smuggled him in his duffel bag! A group of DHL workers and a veteran that also found a love for Fred helped ship Fred back to the United States to soon be reunited with Craig.

It was the time without Fred that Grossi really knew that he needed his companion. Sergeant Grossi was dealing with a traumatic brain injury from when a Taliban rocket hit his compound as well as coping with the death of his close friend, Gunnery Sergeant Justin Schmalstieg, who was killed by an IED. Grossi began suffering from symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He was finding it difficult to open up and talk about the symptoms like the hyper-vigilance and nightmares he and other things he was going through. He says that while he saved Fred from starving on the streets, Fred truly saved him. Because Fred was standing by his side, he is now able to talk about his hardships and the things he was and is worried about, he found his calling travelling and telling his story to others with Fred still by his side. He uses his story to inspire and help others suffering from PTSD.  Grossi says that he would not know where he would be without Fred.

Craig Grossi